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4G/3G/WiFi

Altice USA, AirTies connect on 'Smart WiFi' service

AirTies has evidently secured pole position for Altice USA's "Smart WiFi" offering by supplying both extenders and software that help to underpin the cable provider's premium, whole-home connectivity platform.

Evidence of AirTies's involvement is hiding out in the open, with its extenders shown front and center on web pages that promote the service for Altice One's Optimum (former Cablevision Systems) footprint in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as its more rural Suddenlink service area.

Altice USA also confirmed that AirTies is one of the suppliers playing a role in Smart WiFi, but hasn't provided any specific data on how much traction the product is gaining with broadband subs.

"AirTies is one of many technology partners that, in combination with our own proprietary technology, powers our Smart WiFi service. We are pleased with the adoption of Smart WiFi, which is available as part of our Altice One experience to all new and existing customers," the operator said in a statement.

Altice USA introduced the mesh-based offering in February. It features wireless extenders to bring life to dead zones using a software platform that manually adjusts to the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band, depending on network conditions.

Altice USA is offering Smart WiFi to customers on its HFC-based broadband service, as well as on its broadband service delivered over its upgraded fiber-to-the-premises network in portions of its Optimum footprint. Altice USA has also been bundling Smart WiFi in with its higher-speed tier, including a free extender with its 1-Gig offering.

The Altice USA deal gives AirTies another spot at a tier 1 operator in a market that's flush with competition from service provider suppliers such as Plume (which has a solid in at Comcast), CommScope and Technicolor, among others.

The market for mesh Wi-Fi routers/gateways and extenders is definitely on the rise, thanks in part to expanding adoption of those devices paired with networking software by service providers that have been keen to add value to their core broadband services. According to Dell'Oro Group, 21 million units were shipped in 2019, a number that's expected to balloon to 77 million in 2024.

The caveat is that the global market for this class of product is relatively concentrated to regions such as North America, Europe and pockets of the Asia/Pacific region (primarily Australia), according to Jeff Heynen, Dell'Oro's senior research director, broadband access and home networking.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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